“Your resume is the advertisement while your cover letter is part of your marketing campaign.”

According to Martin Yate, a cover letter is a letter of introduction attached to, or accompanying another document such as resume or curriculum vitae. It is a formal letter describing the resume and/or other items and the reasons for sending them. In a survey by Office Team, more than nine in 10 (91 percent) executives polled said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. In addition, nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) respondents indicated it’s common to receive cover letters even when applicants submit resumes electronically.

Cover letter should be the first thing that hiring manager sees from an applicant. It should introduce the applicant’s skills and qualifications. But in the Philippines, applicants—mostly entry-level, barely submit a cover letter. This is a very big mistake because even Business Insider said that cover letter is more important than resume.

Importance of Cover Letter

Do you really think that cover letter is not important? Well, think again. Cover letter not only narrates your intention for the position but it recounts your edge over other candidates.

  • It is usually the first thing a hiring manager sees.
  • Could be the deciding factor between you and another candidates.
  • It gives you the chance to tell employer why you are the perfect fit for the job.
  • Narrates what you have to offer that will benefit the company or make a difference that others don’t.
  • Tells what makes you stand out from the crowd.
  • It is what sells you to the prospective employer.
  • May be instrumental in your resume “leaping to the top of the pile”

Recruiter Tips

“Competent job seekers submit a cover letter.”

  1. Even if the job posting did not require cover letter, submit one.
  2. Spend as much time perfecting your cover letter as you do to your resume.
  3. Don’t copy and paste from internet samples but if you have no choice, customize it like you’re writing in your tone.
  4. Begin by telling the screener which position you are applying for.
  5. Target each cover letter to each job. Don’t send the same cover letter to every employer.
  6. Keep it brief – good rule of thumb is 2-3 paragraphs for email and one page if printed.
  7. Tell how and why you would be an asset to the company by sharing how your qualifications, strengths and accomplishments match the job specifications.
  8. Research the employer, search online and talk to members of your professional network.
  9. Demonstrate your knowledge of the firm as you explain how your skills and background are a fit.
  10. Don’t rehash your resume in the cover letter.
  11. Use the hiring manager’s name in the address.
  12. Add a catchy P.S.
  13. Double check and proofread.
  14. If someone recommended you—you may want to include the person’s name.
  15. If responding to an advertisement, mention the source.
  16. Spell addressee’s name correctly and use proper title.
  17. Use a colon after their name, not a comma. Colons are used for business letters—commas for personal.

Now, what do you think? Should you write a cover letter? You decide.

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